Ichiban, a Japanese eatery concept is planning to expand locally and regionally.
Ichiban was founded in 2004 by Fadi Khoury. It consists of four sister companies: Ichiban Express, a casual ‘à la carte’ eatery, Ichiban Cuisine, a fine dining venue, Ichiban Marine, a raw material procurement company, and Ichiban Catering, which provides sushi stations to restaurants and hotels.
Ichiban Express has 11 outlets distributed in different regions, including City Mall, Le Mall, Jal El Dib, Jbeil, Kaslik, Choueifat, Saida, Zahle, Hamra, NDU, and Antelias. “We are planning to double the number of our outlets within a two-year strategy,” said Khoury. He said that the new branches will tap prime locations and new regions. The investment in the expansion of Ichiban Express is more than $2 million.
Khoury said that they have plans to open another Ichiban Cuisine outlet in Beirut. There is only one Ichiban Cuisine, at Blueberry Square, Dbayeh.
Ichiban Holding is planning to export all its concepts to the region. New branches of Ichiban Express will open during this year in Jordan, Oman, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. The outlets in Jordan are company-owned. The others are partnerships with investors from the concerned markets.
According to Khoury, Ichiban has the largest market share in Japanese cuisine, with 25,000 sushi pieces prepared per day, and 20,000 visitors per month. “We are planning to strengthen our position and to enlarge our presence locally and abroad, to become sushi ambassadors,” he said.